sisters, whenever you face trials of many
kinds, because you know that the testing
of your faith produces perseverance. Let
perseverance finish its work so that you
may be mature and complete, not lacking
anything. -- (James 1:2-4 NIV)
First a flood, followed by a week of noisy fans blowing under ripped up carpet while drainage tubes ran from holes in the wall to the bathroom sink. Then another week waiting for a carpenter to fix the drywall, and for someone to come replace the damaged vinyl.
I thought of a Scripture, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, that exhorts us to give thanks in all circumstances. Although I was not thankful for the flood or the upheaval it created, it was easy to find things to be thankful for. For one, I was very thankful this all happened before my scheduled paint job. For another, had I not followed an inner prompting to go down for my mail late that afternoon, instead of just waiting until the next morning to get it, the flood in progress would have gone undetected and the results could have been catastrophic. Focusing on these blessings made me feel surprisingly patient and calm.
Finally the day came for the vinyl to be laid, and with it, a test of my ability to count it all joy. I failed the test miserably.
The sight that greeted my eyes looked like something out of the fun house at a carnival. My reaction was not joy.
After the initial shock and disbelief came the pity party, and the questions--why can't anything in my life ever turn out perfect? Why do even the best things always have to be flawed?
The answer comes from a friend who had an experience--funny now in retrospect--but that might also have produced similar feelings of shock and disblief. He and his wife had won an all expense paid trip to a vey expensive, fancy resort. When they got there, just about everything that could go wong did. The jets in the jacuzzi didn't work, the pool was out of order, there was no volume on the TV in their room, the restaurant was closed, the shower in their bathroom didn't drain, the building fire alarm went off while they were geting a massage and they had to evacuate, and the cleaning lady walked in on them when they were in bed. What was supposed to be a relaxing, romantic holiday that sounded heavenly, was actually filled with one problem after the other. In his words, "The truth is, this world ain't heaven. We live in a fallen world, and as good as it sometimes is, it will always have its problems. It won't be heaven until heaven!"